COMMUNITY leaders have said they are "saddened" by city arson attacks that could "easily turn into tragedy". 

Over the last few weeks, bushes, a portable toilet and a bin have been torched in a spate or arsons in the Lordshill area.

Firefighters have had to be called each time to put the blazes out and now an investigation has been launched with officers claiming that children aged between 12 and 14 were seen nearby.

Councillors from the area have now warned against these acts that, they say, are making resident's lives "a misery".

Ward councillor for Coxford, Cllr Tammy Thomas said: “These young people have had no school and little social interaction for over a year, it’s been a massive change in their lives, and they are, understandably, bored!

“But I would urge them to find other means of amusement and not to destroy the beautiful wooded areas.”

Fellow Coxford Councillor, Barrie Margetts added: “These senseless arson attacks are very frustrating, they waste police and fire service time and make local resident’s lives a misery.

"Families and all of us in society have a collective responsibility to stop this sort of senseless behaviour. Prevention is far better than punishment, but children do need to be held accountable for their actions and be supported to change their behaviours."

Police are now working with Hampshire Fire and Rescue and nearby schools in order to try and stop the arson attacks. 

Cllr. Matt Renyard said: "Arson is a serious crime and the consequences can be severe.

"I would ask that parents be extra vigilant to the activities of their children and would encourage them to discuss the possible consequences both for them personally as well as the danger to others."